Booze! It's fun to drink, easy to abuse, and even easier to market in ridiculous ways. 2010 saw all kinds of alcohol gimmickry, from blackouts in cans to liquor in whipped cream to wine in vending machines. Also: beer inside a taxidermied squirrel. Below, we explore the world of drunken innovation.
The Quest for the World's Strongest Beer
First, Scottish brewery BrewDog came out with a 55% ABV beer called The End of History that just happened to come in taxidermied squirrel bottles. Then, Dutch brewery 't Koelschip came out with the sassily-named Start of the Future, which clocked in at a walloping 60% ABV (no dead squirrel bottles, though). For comparison, whiskey's about 40%, 43% on average.
The Government Goes Crazy About Four Loko
Caffeinated alcoholic beverage are in no way new, but this year college students, and subsequently their parents, the media, and the FDA totally went insane over blackout-in-a-can, ending in Four Loko removing caffeine from the product. Four Loko did not go quietly, however: New York chef Eddie Huang hosted an all-you-can-drink Four Loko night at his New York restaurant, after which it was raided by the SLA and permanently shuttered.
Whipped Lightning Adds Alcohol to Whipped Cream
Fast on the heels of Four Loko's departure came Whipped Lightning, alcoholic whipped cream in a can. The $10-$13 a bottle product is shelf-stable, so it's unclear how much actually cream is in it, but who cares if it tastes good on jello shots?
The British Pioneer Fake Trend of Vodka Eyeballing
The Daily Mail decided it was a thing for young people to get drunk by putting vodka on their eyeballs. We remain skeptical, but it seems slightly more plausible than Stephan Colbert's suggestions of "Scotch nostriling, tequila nippling, and before you know it, you're Jager-tainting."
The Year in Drinking With Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart seems like a delightful drunk, particularly on festive/stressful occasions, like dates or Christmas. (If you're unsure of whether or not she's drunk, check out this handy guide.)
Innovations in Wine Acquisition
How's this for an illustration of three countries' attitudes toward drinking: this year, the French sought to make wine drinking easier and more environmentally friendly with self-serve wine stations in grocery stores, while Pennsylvania introduced big-brothery wine vending machines with breathalyzers. The British just went ahead and put wine in single serving disposable glasses, so they can "enjoy a drink on the train home from work."
Miscellaneous Drunk News
· The Onion: Americans Get Majority of Exercise While Drunk
· Airports Expand Alcohol Sales
· Vineyard Loses Entire Season's Crop Overnight to Thieves
· Grape Vine-Pruning Robots to Replace Lazy, Costly Humans
· Colbert on Hello Kitty Wine: 'In No Way Does it Appeal to Younger Fans'
· Babies Are Sometimes Unwelcome at Bars and Lounges
· Rick Bayless: Top Chef Producers Tried to Get Contestants Drinking, Failed
· French Wine Gets Generic
· Grant Achatz Announces Molecular Bar, Aviary
· The iPad KegBot from Yelp Engineers